The UCSB men’s tennis team dropped both their matches in the NCAA National Team Indoor Tournament this weekend to continue their opening slump against ranked opponents. The Gauchos (0-3) lost to #28 South Florida Sunday, following a shutout at the hands of #2 Texas on Saturday. For Head Coach Marty Davis, playing such tough teams early is something he has gotten used to.
“We get some wet weather here, so we always play on the road early,” Davis said.
“It’s always hard to win on the road, so we take some lumps, learn some lessons and then in March we come home and that’s where it’s important to start winning and building confidence.”
Though his team did not win a single team point against Texas, Davis was still pleased with how they performed.
“I was pleased playing Texas,” Davis said. “Our guys did not have the fear of playing such a good team. There was none of that, so that’s a positive.”
Against South Florida, the Gauchos fared much better. Though they lost 5-2, they won the doubles point with the help of juniors Phillip Therp and Scott Hohenstein, as well as junior Josh Finkelstein and sophomore Alex Konigsfeldt. Davis has been preaching the importance of the doubles match since the season began.
“I feel like today’s doubles play was a step forward for us,” Davis said. “We felt like we had a pretty good shot at an upset today, so it’s a little disappointing we didn’t get there, but we’re definitely getting better.”
The team’s other point came from junior Josh Finkelstein in his first singles match of the year, where he beat USF’s Yannick Yoshizawa 6-7, 7-6, (13-11).
“I just fought hard and served pretty well and that was all I needed to win,” Finkelstein said. “It’s been a while since I’ve played singles, so I was excited to be out there.”
Next weekend, the Gauchos head to Eugene, Ore. for yet another road match. This time, though, they play unranked Oregon, the first time this year that the Gauchos face a team ranked lower than they are.
“It’s the first match of the season against a team we’re actually supposed to beat, so that’s good,” Davis said. “But we are trying to keep them focused on where they’re improving, on the process, rather than just on the result.”